On Shopping and Going to Market

Going to the market to pick the daily vegetables and other food can be a delightful task, not a chore, if you are well prepared and properly clothed. You should avoid, if possible, the “super-market”, which is not in any way superior to the actual market except from the financial gain of the owner of such establishment. If there is a real market in your area, do take the time to visit it often and form good relations with the vendors. This way you will get the choicest produce and probably you will receive plenty of expert advice on how to cook them. If there is no real market, I recommend the smallest “super-market” you can find – it will cut the time spent on walking along overstuffed aisles and limit your exposure to ugly things, and surely you will find all the necessary articles in a moderately sized establishment as well as in a oversized one.

Let us hope there is a market near you, which you can visit at least once a week. To do your shopping a dress of the most inexpensive kind is the best. There is no surer mark of vulgarity, than a costly dress in the market. A thoroughly simple washable cotton dress, preferably of a medium tint which does not show dirt easily, is a smart choice. A sturdy basket is the best for carrying the purchases home, but if you out of necessity must visit market after engagements in town or a business day, take with you a very simple fabric or net bag which can be folded in your handbag easily and weighs little. Net bag full of groceries worn with a suit is not a an elegant combination, so choose one of absolute simplicity, to not call attention to it.

The marketing dress is one where it is not necessary to be fitted within an inch of your life, so it is a good first sewing project. A shirtwaist dress which fits well at the shoulders, but is somewhat loose on the waist, and can be worn belted or unbelted, is a good basic type. It should be made from a fabric which washes well, does not mind the unavoidable soils contracted in a market, and always gives you a fresh appearance. Thick gingham, either of plain colour or white and colour check for summer and thicker winter cotton or cotton flannel for cold weather are great choices. Chambray-type fabric combining threads of two colours is very resistant to apparent spots. Twill is good, and this is one of the rare instances, when the much-abused denim fabric can appear on a well-dressed lady with perfect propriety (as long as it is of neat and feminine appearance, and horrendous details as frayed edges and fading are not used). You should wear a simple hat, such as a beret, or a cloche of the same fabric as your dress, and some kind of jacket or a shawl except in the height of summer. For summer, a head-kerchief of the same fabric as your dress is a sweet companion. Jewelry is not used, except of simple clip-on earrings or a very simple metal bracelet, brooch or necklace (and not all of these at the same time!). Cotton scarves are a good way to add a dash of colour. Also colorful buttons on a plain-cloured dress are amusing and delightful. Simple washable gloves are worn. Shoes should be practical and comfortable. You should present the appearance of a smart and economical house-wife in all her best qualities, and properly dressed you can enjoy the daily parade of the bounty of fruitful Earth presented at the market.


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